Nightlife in Washington DC is just a reflection of the people in the city itself. Thriving on power and the flow of information, Washington DC nightlife caters to a crowd of international movers and shakers, passionate, intelligent, and very transient. With elections every two years causing major inflows and outflows of political cultures, the entertainment available to them at any given time also fluctuates with vibrant diversity.
There are certain parts of town that are sure bets for those looking for nightclubs in DC, or a good DC bar in which to mingle with locals. Which parts of town appeal to you will, of course, depend on who you are. So if you are a more formal traditionalist, perhaps you would enjoy a night out in Georgetown. Originally a tobacco port along the Potomac River, Georgetown was given to the brand-new fledgling government as part of its ten-mile set aside for governing. It still has all the feel of that historic port town, and the restaurants and taverns to go with it. You can't go wrong bar hopping around the main intersection of Wisconsin and M, NW. If you are a fan of live music, Georgetown boasts the classy Jazz Alley, and the waterfront Zanzibar, where you can catch some homegrown DC live go-go or hip hop dance music. For casual live rock, go further north on Wisconsin Avenue to the Grog and Tankard, where the American University crowd gathers and live rock bands play for cheap covers.
You can't go to a more traditional DC bar than to Tiber
Creek on Capitol Hill. Under the watchful gaze of the US Capitol, you and your
buddies can impress one another with your consumption
skills via the famous Tiber Creek Ale by the Yard. Others
will wish to josh around and sing Irish tunes in a tavern,
and they should try the Dubliner Irish Pub not three blocks
away. Both are accessible through Union Station,
which has its own assortment of eateries and bars.
If you are more of a multicultural type, modernist,
or artist, you are sure to prefer to spend your evenings
in Adams Morgan or The U Street District. Adams
Morgan, simply put, is the part of town where bohemians
rebelled against the established Georgetown, and artists
lived and sparkled, giving life to myriad nightclubs in
DC, among them the famed Madam's Organ, Habana Village,
and Chief Ike's Mambo Room. You can see all sorts of wild
funky music here, and bar hop around the intersection
of Columbia and 18th, NW, and you can't go wrong.
The U Street District around 14th
and U Streets, NW is where all the artists went when
the Georgetown patrons discovered Adams Morgan and started
driving rents up and artists out. Not only is it
the new cutting-edge artist part of town, it was the old
one, too. The U Street area originally gave rise
to the best of black American arts, fostering the work
of Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Billie Holliday, and
Sarah Vaughn, to name but a few. Full circle, the arts
have come home here, giving rise to live music clubs like
The Black Cat and the premiere DC bar for showcasing band,
the 9:30 Club. Also in that neck of the woods, for
those who prefer to find mellower music clubs in DC, there
are U-Topia and Sparky's Café.
Dupont Circle also attracts a healthy amount of artists and well-to-do patrons of culture, particularly as it is the nexus of gay life in Washington DC. There are many wonderful bookshops, particular the all-night bookstore and café Kramerbooks and Afterwards, where you can relax and people watch. Dupont Circle itself is a great place to simply people watch, and feel the more activist pulse of the city. Sit out by the fountain or join a circle of bike couriers sitting in the grass, and you are sure to encounter some cutting-edge DC nightlife. You can also check out some great Washington DC clubs in the Dupont Circle area, among them the Eighteenth Street Lounge (ESL), 5, and Lucky Bar.
Whichever kind of bar in DC you are looking for, exploring
clubs in DC and Washington DC nightlife is bound to take
you on an adventure! And you will meet many interesting
people in every bar in DC. People from all over
the world come to this city to express themselves, whether
through ideas, food,
or art, so nightlife in Washington DC feels like being
free in the center of the free world. You are! Enjoy yourself.